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Saturday, March 30, 2013

XiDi Old Village (西递)

My brother and I have been thinking of going to HuangShan together since 3 years ago. However, due to several reasons, we had to put off the plan. It was until this year, we finally made it when the Easter holiday came.  

The trip wasn't a smooth sailing one. We had some bumps on the departure day when our flight has been delayed for more than 4 hours because of very bad weather condition. Sitting in the waiting hall of ShenZhen Airport, we could only pray hard that the flight won't be cancelled. Thank God our prayer was heard, finally our plane took off at 11pm, near midnight time. 

We arrived at the HuangShan Airport at around 1am. By the time we reached the hotel in TuenXi down town, the time was nearly 2am already. Anyway, we have no complaints though, just feel happy that we didn't sway too far away from the original plan. 

We woke up in a beautiful sunny day, so it doesn't matter that we only slept for 4-5 hours that night. After taking a buffet breakfast in the hotel, we were glad to see the lady driver whom we have hired had come to pick us on time, at 9.30 am.

After hearing some suggestions from our driver cum tour guide, we have made up our mind to go to XiDi Village, as the 1st destination for the day.

XiDi (西), originally named XiChuan, is also referred to as XiXi (West Rivulet) because there are three rivulets flowing westward in the village. It was changed into the present name XiDi (literally means West Transfer) because it is located in the west of ancient Hui Prefecture where there used to be a post station.

The village dates back over 960 years ago in the era of HuangYou of Northern Song Dynasty. It is a boat-shaped village covering an area of 16 hectares. Surrounded by a range of mountains, it boasts beautiful landscapes. The village still has over 300 ancient houses of Ming and Qing Dynasties, of which 124 are fairly intact. Thus winning the epithet "a Utopian Land". It is a quaint, and elegant ancient village which is simple is style but profound in cultural background.

As usual, no place is free-entry in China. The tourists will need to buy the tickets to enter the place.

While husband and brother went to buy the tickets, I took the kids to the nearby toilet.

As expected, their toilet is never a pleasant place. So I settled my business as fast as I could, then waiting for the kids at the outside. The view at the entrance site is very beautiful though.

After 15 min or so, they came to us with the tickets on hand. Adults ticket cost RMB 104, Child's ticket cost around half the price. Quite expensive !! No wonder our tour guide said we must choose the place wisely and carefully. For this, we have decided to skip another equally famous old village, called HongChun.

XiDi was renowned as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.

The view over the old city gate against the lake is beautiful, serves as the landmark of the village too.

The rise of the village was closely tied to the fortunes of the Hu family, who adopted a son of the Tang Emperor Zhaozong after the Emperor was forced from his throne in 904.

The population began to rise sharply from 1465, when the Hu family had started in business as merchants, leading to construction of major private buildings and a public infrastructure. By the middle of the 17th century, the Hu family was influential in both commerce and politics. 

The prosperity of XiDi peaked in the 18th and 19th centuries, at which time the village comprised about 600 residences. However, with the decline of the AnHui merchant community and the disintegration of the feudal clan system during the later Qing Dynasty and the Republic, Xidi ceased to expand.

The open field in the village is very natural, beautiful as well. We have spent quite some considerable amount of time out there.

This place is such picturesque...

Also, it's my first experience to see so many beautiful little yellow flowers in the wild, really had elevated my mood.

My brother is the same too...

Those are called   油菜花 (Rape Flower). Although the flower looks nothing too special in closed up, but it forms an amazing beautiful flower sea when clustered together. I just love it.

Vincent, was sitting there to observe what was the things he could play on.

Well, I would say this is our free activities time....

It's great that the place was not too crowded, as I've expected.

Some lucky wild ducks.

The place is simply too beautiful that had prompted me to take many photos of it.

Yes, Utopia it is.

Beautiful mirror reflection on the water.

With my brother around, there would be more pictures of the 2 of us.

How nice if I can take a walk in this place every morning...

Some cherry blossom in the field too. Pink and yellow, such a harmony combination.

Well, I think it's not too bad to live in a village like this...

And I think the boys can adjust well to this place too.

Walking near the cherry trees...I could feel their good energy field too.

The river can always attract the kids from all age.

They wanted me to watch them fly across the gap...gosh.

Since it doesn't seem particular dangerous, we just let them do the stunt.

After 1 hour or so, I have started to receive the 1st SMS from our driver. She asked if we were going out to meet her at the car park? She got to be kidding me, we haven't even entered the village for a walk, haha...

Anyway, since we still need to go to another place after this one, we got to watch out the time too. So we left the field and go into the village center.

My brother helped me to make them go.

The owner of this house, who forgot to bring the key (ahemm...)

Alright, no more  油菜花 inside the village.

Finally, we went into the village center through a narrow alleyway.

The little master walking on the street.

The stuffs which the villagers would put under the sun.

Dehydrating the skin of the bamboo shot in on the way too..

The chic were sun-bathing too...

No doubt, the tenants here know how to make use of the sun energy to its fullest.

Not sure if he is a tourist or the tenant, but he stood there to eat a bowl of hot noodle...

This man has been living here since his father's generation. According to him, his late father was a great bamboo-carver too. He had learnt the skill since very small and took over the business after his father pass away.

The live demonstration from the man. To me, it's great.

Some of the work pieces were made by the son, some were made by his late father.

Some of them are paintings...

I was pretty impressed of one of his father's work pieces, so I bought it home with RMB 200. Later then we found out it doesn't suit our house that much, so we gave it to a buddhist friend instead.

Then we continued to stroll around the village.

The street pattern of XiDi is dominated by a main road which runs in an east-west direction and is flanked by 2 parallel streets. The major streets are joint by many narrow alleyway.

This pot of flower is very beautiful, I like it.

The contrast of a modernize tenant & a traditional tenant....

Tea plantation is very famous in this region...

After seeing and hearing so many disgusting & sickening reports about China's foods, as well as their processing methods, I have almost lost all my faith in their production now a days . I just didn't feel safe to put their things into my mouth.

The shops in the village are selling more or less the same things...

Emmm....really have no interest to buy his 'production'

This little thing is cute, cost only RMB 5. I offered to buy this to the boys as souvenir, but they said they wanted to see and compare other things first.

Hand-made shoes, but not my styles.

Judging from the outlook of this residence, it must have its glorious time in the past. 

Now a days, the house is opened to the tourists. My brother and I paid RMB 3 pax, and we can enter and visit the house with no time limit. 

A short doorway leading us to...

the kitchen....oh, definitely my great grandmother's era.

Seriously, I think one may find many precious antiques from here and there....

I imagine I do the cooking in this kitchen, then I see my face becomes all dark  & oily, typically a so-called 'yellow-face-wife'.

Comparatively, I so cherish and like my kitchen at home.

The living room next to the kitchen. An old lady was cutting the bamboo shot over there. She didn't even look at us, so we didn't disturb her too.

Corner of in the living room...

Then we climbed up this stair to the upper level. The sounds had made me feel that it may collapse at anytime, so we walked up very slow and caution.

Feel so lonely standing in front of the window.

Pretend to be the little master of this house.

Me too...

Looking down from the window, the design of each residence is quite unique.

Today, 124 well preserved wooden residences from the Ming and Qing dynasties with beautiful carving form the major attractions. Many of these residences are open to the public now.

According to our tour lady, XiDi is the best preserved and most authentic, and also one of the smallest. It is not so crowded with shops and tour groups that we can just relax and wander some the back streets, tuning in to the rhythms of village life.

She said should we have visited another famous old village (Hong Cun), we would feel shopped and toured to death. But here in XiDi, things are just chill. Well, I agreed with her.

The roof top of a neighbor....

The upper level has a big opening at the center, the 4 edges was surrounded by wood fencing.

The interior was very dark. I wonder if the ancient people dislike natural lighting?

I think I would be very depressed if I have to live long in a dark house like this.

After 15 minutes, we went out and I felt so happy to see my boy's sunny happy face again.

He too, turned back and said 'hi' to me.

In conclusion, this is definitely not my type of dream house, not in a single way.

Like said : good to see it, bad to live in.

A lovely scene that warm my heart...

The business was not good for the local shops on that day.

I guess this is part of their usual life...keep waiting and hoping.

Apparently, XiDi is also a popular outing destination for the school students.

The students were drawing this building, Jing'ai Hall

Later, husband and William were sitting and eating a local delicacy in front of the hall. Maybe they had become a part of the student's drawing too?

As the name of the hall had mentioned, to-respect and to-love.

Atypical China-style.

The good thing about those local sellers, they didn't came near the tourists and bug them to buy their thingy. They just sat there quietly and wait for the interest buyer. 

William went to check his goodies, and then he waved me to walked over and show me this amber with a dragon-fly trapped inside.

Some kids were playing water in the ditch. My boys watched them doing this for a while, probably thinking if they should join them or not? 

Horse cart is still a means of carriage in the village.

They too, waiting there quietly and patiently.

Then we crossed the small 'bridge' to the other side of the village...

When I saw this building, I felt puzzled and confused for a while...did we go back to Jing'ai Hall again?

So I checked the photos that I had just taken, and confirmed Jing'ai Hall looks like this...and the color is not so bright.

Walking on the other street....

Very cool entrance...

The round shape door, I like it.

Oh yes, finally my boys had chosen their souvenir...They still play it until today.

Life is slow and quiet here...the presence of the tourists didn't seem to affect them that much.

Like cutting a piece of cake for him...

Well, told the boys to forget about it...

The time was nearly 3pm by then, we got to wrap up the place in a faster pace....

Saw this pavilion on the left turn, so we made a quick detour to check it out.

XiDi Travel Lodge & Coffee Bar

A place that lost in time.

If we have lots of time, for sure we would sit here and enjoy a cup of coffee...In reality, the lady driver who had waited outside for us had text me like 10x already....

Walking out to the street...

Local dried food...

Saw some local people playing mah-jong to kill time..

Hanging a dried pig's head and the rest of the pig's part at their front door is common scene.

That's XiDi. 

When the lady driver saw us walking out the village, she looked like she has been waiting for us a century long. She asked me if I had received her SMS, I gave her a surprise look and said " NO wo..."

From XiDi, we then headed to our next destination.....


tasy said...

yo!! open eyes big big say lie??!!! hehe...

this is really "antique" china scenery. very awesome charming, no doubt. love the pic of you and you with ks with the yellow flowers background. look so pretty and young, you! yo!

as always, i feel so envious you guys can visit and experience different sights and sounds, from snow capped mountains to traditional charming places like these. yo!

btw, where's the po toi island post ah? next time we go there la, but must be right timing. next time i bring chloe jor. :)

Jessy Lee said...

Well, I guess my job had trained me well to be a good lier at times. Also, she asked for it, hehe...

If only you knew how much we have spent for those vacation, maybe you won't be that envious lo.

You have just reminded me of our recent trip to Po Toi Island...actually there are so many backlog but I haven't had time to work on it yet, sigh.

Also, you & Chloe are welcome next time.

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